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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32767
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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GA: I have a 13 year old American rag doll cat, who does have kidney

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I have a 13 year old American rag doll cat, who does have kidney desease, but he has suddenly started licking paper with biro writing on and per from the printer with print on.

My vet has no answer, Can you please answer this
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
Licking, chewing, and ingesting inanimate objects is called pica and can represent a number of conditions.

Gastrointestinal disorders, dental and oral disease, central nervous system disturbances such as brain tumors or hydrocephalus, electrolyte imbalances, metabolic diseases, and toxins such as lead can induce licking, sucking, chewing, and picas (ingestion of inanimate objects), licking of owners, and air licking. Picas may also be caused by excessive restriction of calories (i.e. weight loss diets) and any medical condition that could cause polyphagia (increased hunger). Licking, chewing, polyphagia, polydipsia, and picas can also be a side effect of drug therapy. In geriatric pets, repetitive behaviors including licking, chewing, and picas might be associated with brain aging and cognitive dysfunction.

By the principle of Occam's Razor I would attribute Percy's behavior to the gastrointestinal irritation caused by his uremia. Initiating antacid therapy in the form of famotidine (Pepcid) at a dose of 1/2 of a 10mg tablet daily might be helpful. His choosing pen and print doesn't indicate any particular disorder but, instead, a preference for its taste at this time.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32767
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank yu for replying. He already takes famotidine. He also takes for the kidneys potassium citrate and sodium barcarbonate. He takes .05 of famotidine. He is under the Animal Hospital in Newmarket, England, bit they do not know why he has started licking paper/ink


Has only just started licking paper with ink in the last few weeks. And it is like he is addicted to it. I have to keep moving him away, I am worried he be poisoned.

Thank you for the additional information. Inks are now nontoxic by law. Thankfully, unless he begins to ingest objects he'll remain well.

As you can see above, there are quite a few considerations in these patients. It isn't reasonable to investigate a brain disorder but rechecking his electrolytes, thoroughly examining his mouth for ulceration and dental disease, and switching him from famotidine to a proton pump antacid such as omeprazole (Prilosec) should be considered.

Please continue our conversation if you wish. Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

We received your customer service inquiry, however, we are unable to respond to you because we do not have your email address. Please contact customer support [email protected] and provide us with your email address and a link to this question page so that we can help you.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

reply to Michael Slkin - Thank you for replying, I did not notice that you had repli yesterday evening for the second time/.. Thank you. Some months ago he did have a mri scan because the Animal Hospital wondered (he sometimes shudders ) if he had a brain tumour . (I had another ragdoll that had a brain tumour) however Percy did not. They also removed a tooth whilst he was under sedation. Never found out why he shudders and he still does occasionally. So perhaps that rules out brain, and dental problem.


Also since he has started licking paper with ink, he has also stated whinning early every morning about 5 .00 a.m. - 6.00 a.m. goes outside looks around, has a drink from outside, and then is ok for the day. I also do not know why he is doing this. Apart from The kidney problem, which he has had three years, and takes medication, he looks healthy, still plays kicking tennis balls all around the room, every evening, and is so lovable.


I just am worried about the licking and the whinning.


Percy is an indoors cat, but just goes out in our garden. He has never been out of our garden into the street. So although indoor cat

t, he does love to sit in the garden .


If I need to pay for this further advice please advise, because I am worried about the licking and whinning, plus also he seems not to want to drink in the house, several pots of water about house because of his kidneys.


thank you in advance - best regards


XXXXX XXXXX, Diss, Norfolk, England



Carol, I'm not privy to the financial arrangement you have with the site. There shouldn't be any further cost to you, however. I receive a portion of your depost each time you rate positively. For further information, please contact [email protected]

You've been marvelously attentive to Percy. If biochemical testing and MRI have been unrevealing I would have to attribute Percy's behavior to a behavioral quirk rather than a medical issue. We might consider anxiety underlying his licking and whining. Whining only between 5-6AM isn't suggestive of a medical disorder. There's no reason to consider psychotherapeutic drugs (anxiolytics) in a cat who is otherwise healthy (except his kidneys) and plays with tennis balls every evening.

Feel free to continue conversing with me if you wish.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear Dr Salkin - thank you for your advice. The whinning and licking started a few weeks ago.Percy is a well loved, looked after pussy cat, I work from home, so am with him all day. I am now wondering what the anxiety would be. We did lose our other Ragdoll to a tumour, who was his best friend, but that was three years ago, just when Percy was diagnosed with his kidney complaint.


Pixie was l0 when she died, would have been 13 now, like Percy, and although I have never got over losing her, perhaps Percy hasn't either,may be that could be the anxiety,??


I do not know what other anxiety, because Percy is well loved and spoilt.


When I take him to the Small Animal Hospital they love him there, he is so beautiful, an they are mostly Italian vets there and apparently they don't have Ragdolls in Italy, so that all make a big fuss of him.


Well perhaps he will forget about licking my paperwork, but he does seem addicted, he cant get into my office or on my desk quick enough, I have to cover all papers.


So hopefully the licking and whinning is not medical, we shall have to

see how he gets along.


I would thank you for all your help, it has been nice talking to you.


Best wishes


Carol Coleman and Percy Coleman

I enjoyed speaking with you too. Anxiety is just one of the behavioral disorders I deal with. I could just as well have said an "emotional" problem - whatever that means.
"Other than medical" would be more appropriate!

I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks for an update. Please feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.